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Julian Assange Calls DreamWorks' WikiLeaks Movie a 'Geriatric Snoozefest'

Peter Z. Scheer
Managing Editor
Peter Scheer grew up in the newspaper business, spending family vacations with his mother at newspaper editors' conferences, enjoying daycare in editorial departments and begrudgingly reviewing his father's…
Peter Z. Scheer

Julian Assange has been critical of the upcoming dramatization of his work, “The Fifth Estate,” since he read an early draft of the script. Now, as the movie is set to open, he cuts it to ribbons once again.

In a statement released on the official WikiLeaks Twitter feed, Assange writes:

People love the true WikiLeaks story: a small group of dedicated journalists and tech activists who take on corruption and state criminality against the odds. But this film isn’t about that. This is a film by the old media about the new media. Viewers are short-changed. Step one: write WikiLeaks staff out of the story. Where is our primary spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson, three time winner of journalist of the year, who we deployed to war-torn Iraq? Where is our courageous journalist Sarah Harrison who spent 39 days protecting Edward Snowden in a Moscow airport – and is now in effective exile from the UK? Step two: write the old media into the story. Instead of the exciting true story, we get a film about a bland German IT worker who wasn’t even there and a fabricated fight over redactions with the old newspapers and the State Department saving the day. The result is a geriatric snoozefest that only the US government could love.

As The Verge points out, “With the film getting mixed early reviews, its most interesting facet may be the weird conversation that’s grown up around it — Assange’s eloquent letter easily outdoes any monologue he’s given in the film.” Assange apparently asked the actor who portrays him, Benedict Cumberbatch, to “reconsider your involvement in this enterprise.” “Feature films are the most powerful and insidious shapers of public perception, because they fly under the radar of conscious exclusion,” Assange explained. “As justification it will claim to be fiction, but it is not fiction. It is distorted truth about living people doing battle with titanic opponents. It is a work of political opportunism, influence, revenge and, above all, cowardice.”

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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